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Regional Data Specialist

UNDP – United Nations Development Programme is currently seeking applications from the eligible applicants for the post of Regional Data Specialist in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 

  • Job Title: Regional Data Specialist
  • Organization: UNDP – United Nations Development Programme
  • Country: Ethiopia
  • City: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Office: UNDP Addis Ababa
  • Grade: P-3
  • Closing date: Saturday, 27 February 2021

Job ID: 35380

Practice Area – Job Family: Management – DATA AND RESEARCH

Vacancy End Date: (Midnight New York, USA) 27/02/2021

Duty Station: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Education & Work Experience: I-Master’s Level Degree – 5 year(s) experience

Languages: English


Grade: P3

Vacancy Type: FTA International

Posting Type: External

Bureau: Africa

Contract Duration: 2 Year with possibility for extension

Job Description


The Regional Programme for Africa is a flagship programme for UNDP that responds to challenges and opportunities facing the African continent and to the priorities and aspirations of Africa as articulated by the African Union and other regional organs.

Underpinned by African ownership and leadership and cognizant of the rich diversity of the continent, UNDP’s regional work is based on five mutually reinforcing rationality principles, which define the added value of regional or sub-regional approaches to addressing development challenges. These are: (a) promotion of regional public goods and services, based on strengthened regional cooperation and integration; (b) management of cross-border externalities (challenges and opportunities) and spill-overs – such as trade, the environment and conflict prevention that are best addressed collaboratively on an inter-country basis; (c) advancement of awareness, dialogue and action on sensitive and or emerging development issues that benefit strongly from multi-country and regional experiences and perspectives; (d) promotion of experimentation and innovation to overcome institutional, financial and/or informational barriers that may be too high for an individual country to surmount; and (e) generation and sharing of development knowledge, experience and expertise – for instance, through South-South and triangular cooperation – so that countries can connect to, and benefit from, relevant experiences from across the region and beyond.

Part of the UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Regional Programme seeks to address regional issues on the continent by providing programmatic support to countries facing similar challenges where a united front of affected countries is best suited to address the prevalent specific issues. Currently, the Regional Programme runs several flagship projects, including: Accelerating the Ratification and Domestication of African Union Treaties and Preventing and Responding to Violent Extremism in Africa: A Development Approach, and is also involved in supporting other crosscutting and emerging issues such as gender equality and women’s empowerment, climate security, and strengthening UNDP’s engagement in the Sahel – all towards enabling Country Offices to fulfill their mandates.

The current Regional Programme for Africa (2018-2021) contributes directly to the UNDP Strategic Plan (SP) by focusing on the three priority areas/outcomes:

  • African Union and RECs deliver on their mandate, especially cross-cutting issues related to resilience-building (SP Outcome 2);
  • Regional growth is inclusive, transformational and sustainable with reduced economic inequalities, and characterized by structural transformation (SP Outcome 2);
  • Regional and sub-regional institutions sustain peace and build resilience to crises and shocks (SP Outcome 3).

To enhance its analytical strength, the Regional Programme for Africa is seeking to conduct continuous monitoring, analysis and data collection that will inform the design of the new Regional Programme (2022-2025), regional engagements and interventions, and guide the implementation and adjustment of ongoing regional projects and initiatives.

Three functional areas will underpin the work of the Regional Data Specialist:

  • Data analysis, which will focus on the collection of primary data, establishment and maintenance of a database of “development intelligence”, analysis of the data collected, as well as reporting of the data results. This function will require specialization in the following areas: big data, GIS/geospatial analysis, visualization, surveys and econometrics/social sciences.
  • Reporting and programming, which will produce reports and tools using primary data collected into ongoing and future programming of the Regional Programme for Africa.
  • Management of strategic partnerships with third party researchers as well as local and international (academic) institutions for quality assurance of the knowledge products.

The Regional Data Specialist will be responsible for the strategic/thematic direction of data collection and analysis. He/she will contribute to the work of all regional projects and initiatives in the domain of data analysis (statistical/economic regression) and reporting. The Regional Data Specialist will be based in UNDP Regional Service Center for Africa and will report directly to the Regional Programme Coordinator.

Duties and Responsibilities

Summary of Key Functions:

  • Technical Management
  • Data Collection and Analysis
  • Knowledge Management, Reporting and Outreach

Duties and Responsibilities:

1. Technical Management:

  • Provide specialized technical advice to the Regional Programme Coordinator and senior management on target audience and thematic/geographical direction for Regional Data Hub research products;
  • Based on recent research as well as available data from international development partners, undertake a gap analysis informing the thematic priorities for the Regional Programme for Africa;
  • Manage the development of a research platform with independent capacity for primary data collection, analysis, visualization and reporting;
  • Lead sourcing of high-quality (international and national) experts for database development/maintenance, big data analysis, spatial analysis, and data visualization, as well as specialists in the field of monitoring and evaluation and partnerships management;
  • Develop and maintain close research collaboration with academics, researchers in universities and think tanks, as well as in the UN system;
  • Ensure timely and adequate progress reporting against established priorities and plans.

2. Data Collection and Analysis:

  • Use big data and machine learning to identify development trends and options for targeted development interventions;
  • Support development of statistical and econometric models informing primary data collection and analysis by the Data Hub, with highly specialized advice;
  • Inform development of a database for “development intelligence” by database experts;
  • Oversee analysis of primary and secondary data to inform programming of the Regional Programme, regional projects and initiatives;
  • Ensure political and ethical sensitivity in data collection and dissemination of (primary) data to third parties;
  • Produce analytical briefs on selected thematic areas featuring interactive maps, graphs and infographics;
  • Capture and disseminate lessons learnt and best practices to contribute to learning and collective development intelligence beyond the Regional Programme.

3. Knowledge Management, Reporting and Outreach:

  • Provide guidance for the creation of static and interactive data visualizations for public awareness raising/a global general audience;
  • Provide strategic direction for the dissemination of research products from the Data Hub, based on the interests of UNDP, UN agencies, international development partners and/or practitioners on the ground;
  • Ensure complementarity of the work of other data (collection /analysis/ reporting) capacities internally and externally;
  • Identify opportunities to expand the dissemination network of research products and engage new consumers of the primary data;
  • Draft op-eds, articles based on data analysis on development trends;
  • Support the development of tailored data-driven external communications products;
  • Use real time analysis of emerging and evolving development trends to support engagements with project partners, the donor community and international organizations, with the objective to inform development programming with primary data.




  • Ability to make new and useful ideas work.

Level 5: Creates new and relevant ideas and leads others to implement them.


  • Ability to persuade others to follow.

Level 5: Plans and acts transparently, actively works to remove barriers.

People Management.

  • Ability to improve performance and satisfaction.

Level 5: Models high professional standards and motivates excellence in others


  • Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform.

Level 5: Gains trust of peers, partners, clients by presenting complex concepts in practical terms to others.


  • Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement.

Level 5: Critically assesses value and relevance of existing policy / practice and contributes to enhanced delivery of products, services, and innovative solutions.



  • Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals.

Level 5: Originate: Catalyzes new ideas, methods, and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise.

Knowledge Management.

  • Ability to efficiently handle and share information and knowledge.

Level 5: Originate: Catalyzes new ideas, methods, and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise.

Partnership Management.

  • Establishing, maintaining, and utilizing a broad network of contacts. Building partnerships and strategic alliances. Leveraging the resources of partners.

Level 5:Originate: Catalyzes new ideas, methods, and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise.


  • Professional competence and mastery of subject matter, including in-depth technical knowledge of development programmes.

Level 5: Originate: Catalyzes new ideas, methods, and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise.

Planning & Organizing.

  • Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies, identifies priorities and foresees risks through contingency planning.

Level 5: Originate: Catalyzes new ideas, methods, and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise.

Required Skills and Experience


  • Advanced University Degree (Masters’ or equivalent) in Economics, Econometrics, Data Visualization, Quantitative Methods in Social Sciences or Monitoring and Evaluation, Computer Science, Information Systems, Mathematics, Statistics or other closely related field.


  • A minimum of 5 years of progressively responsible professional experience in data analysis, data visualization, econometric analysis and research (primary and secondary) in a development context;
  • Practical experience in initiating and coordinating collection of primary data, analysis and reporting of primary data for evidence-based program development;
  • Understanding of the use of big data to conduct diagnostics of development trends;
  • Experience commissioning of projects, ability to collaborate and coordinate with highly technical specialists in the field of quantitative methodologies, data collection, databases and visualization;
  • Proven record of quantitative analytical skills with big datasets and building econometric and statistical models;
  • Proven data analysis skills and working with different types of data (survey data, economic/social data, spatial data);
  • Proven experience in field research from developing robust and sound methodologies for collection of data, overseeing and monitoring implementation of data collection, cleaning, analysis, visualization/ presentation of research results;
  • Proficiency in the use of statistical programs such as R, SAS or STATA, including the use of data visualization packages;
  • Understanding of data innovation methodologies and designing data-based experiments preferred;
  • Proven record of creating (statistic and interactive) and presenting data visualizations and infographics, including the use of software such as Tableu, Chart.js, Adobe (Indesign, Illustrator);
  • Proven record of knowledge of GIS software and spatial data analysis.
  • Outstanding writing, editing and fact-checking skills, as well attention to details;
  • Critical attitude and ability to review/provide comments on knowledge products;
  • Proven political/scientific-ethical sensitivity.

Language Requirements:

  • Proficiency in English;
  • Fluency in French is desirable.


  • Demonstration of required skills and competence through the successful completion of a written exam and the manipulation of raw data as part of the assessment phase.


Important information for US Permanent Residents (‘Green Card’ holders)

Under US immigration law, acceptance of a staff position with UNDP, an international organization, may have significant implications for US Permanent Residents. UNDP advises applicants for all professional level posts that they must relinquish their US Permanent Resident status and accept a G-4 visa, or have submitted a valid application for US citizenship prior to commencement of employment.

UNDP is not in a position to provide advice or assistance on applying for US citizenship and therefore applicants are advised to seek the advice of competent immigration lawyers regarding any applications.

Applicant information about UNDP rosters

Note: UNDP reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement. We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNDP at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.

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How to Apply